We often hear that good posture is important..but why exactly?
When I was younger, good posture was considered important because it was an outer expression of one’s upbringing. My grandmother’s sometimes placed a book on my head and had me traipse around the living room. “Young ladies stand up straight!” Slouching at the dinner table was also quite the faux pas. In order to show that I was indeed a lady, I tried to stand up straight, walk upright, and tried to keep from “hunching” while in the presence of my parents and grandparents. However, there came a time when I wasn’t so eager to please, so excited about being deemed “a lady”…I turned 13. I decided that etiquette was for fancy, prissy girls (which I am NOT), and therefore, it was not necessary for me. If good posture was a sign that I cared about my parent’s “rules”, well then I was going to have to show that I did NOT care…hence the onset pre-teen slouching. Yep, I was a rebel, a rebel without a spine. Ok, I did have a spine, but I worked really hard to make sure it wasn’t all prim and proper-like. I pouted and slouched, curled up in my teen angst-ridden ball and dismissed good posture (among other things like dressing in matching clothes, brushing my hair, and wearing any other color but black) as something for those who had it all together, who wanted to impress others- something I did not have or want to do. “What’s the big deal?” I thought.
If we are more than just what we look like on the outside, do we really NEED to have good posture?
The answer is YES! Let’s take a look at what “good posture” really means (Hint: its more than just balancing a book on your head.) and how it can help us in our daily lives.
What is it? Good posture is more accurately called ALIGNMENT. Your body has a natural alignment, when all of the bones/joints and the surrounding muscles are in the correct place in relation to each other.
Why is it important? Proper body alignment allows each bone, joint, muscle, ligament, tendon, to be utilized for its intended purpose. Each part of the body is in the right place to do it’s designed job. When you are NOT in alignment, one muscle group might have to do the work for another muscle group that is misaligned. Because the entire body is connected, one alignment will lead to undue stress and potential injuries, weakness in the non-utilized muscles, and imbalances. Proper alignment is necessary for stability, protection, and support of the entire body.
How do I get it? We are all born with our own natural alignment. As we go through our lives, we gradually become misaligned, out of balance. In order to regain our proper alignment, we must become aware of our current alignment, receive instruction on how to adjust our bodies into alignment, and to PRACTICE proper positioning of the bones, joints, and muscles as we move through our daily lives. Exercise methods such as Pilates and Yoga are great ways to become aware of your body and move toward a more proper alignment. These methods work to gently strengthen the weak areas of the body and increase the flexibility of the tight areas of the body- both of which will serve to help maintain proper alignment.
What about Spiritual Alignment?
Just like body alignment, our alignment to God’s will for our lives has certain benefits. Walking upright in God’s plan for us is not about having the appearance of being brought up in a Christian home. Moving in our faith isn’t about what it looks like on the outside, but where we are aligned on the inside. When we move in our faith, we must do so with our hearts and minds aligned with God.
How do I become aligned?
We must become aware of our misalignment and seek instruction to how to stand upright in our faith. Prayer and study of God’s Word help us with this awareness and draw a measuring line, providing us with instruction for realigning what has become out of balance. Just like with our bodies’ alignments, we must have a diligent, daily practice in aligning our hearts and minds to God’s will. It must become part of our routine in our daily life…Not just traipsing around the living room with a book on our heads, but walking around with HIS Book in our hearts.